Life Is But a Dream

January 19, 2010

Yes, I’m personally the victim of deferred dreams, of blasted hopes, but in spite of that I close today by saying I still have a dream, because, you know, you can’t give up in life. If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose the courage to be, and the quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today, I still have a dream.
• Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday was a celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and I am reminded of the power of his words to help me remember things it is easy to lose sight of, questions I need to ask myself regularly: What is my dream? What do I hope for? Who do I want to be in the world? Why am I choosing to do what I do today, this week, this year? Does what I’m doing and who I’m becoming represent my dreams for my life or am I just moving with the current, floating down the stream? These are questions you should be asking yourself as well.

Maya Angelou said that because of our routines we forget that life is an ongoing adventure. I suspect that most people would say this is true. We know what we need to do and we do it until we are tired and we go to sleep and get up and do what we need to do all over again. Perhaps there’s an occasional vacation or weekend away to look forward to, but mostly, life is lots of the same-old-stuff. There’s nothing wrong with this, especially when you’re in school and want to pass your classes. We all do things because they are the right thing for us to be doing at the time. But King’s words remind me that there has to be more, purposeful dreams and hopes that help overcome discouragement and sustain enthusiasm for life.

Deciding what your hopes and dreams are is not a one-time event. It’s ongoing and deliberate, so here’s some homework for you. I’m going to try to do it too. You might think that I am brave enough to do it here, but I am not. There are many aspects of my private life I share in public spaces, but much of what I write is unwritten, penned not on paper, but in my mind, thought into being and never articulated because it seems fantabulous, wildly unrealistic, unachievable, the imaginings of impossibility, fantasies of possibility that might become real if only I were braver than I am. And so, you see, I have said too much and I think about erasing these words, but perhaps you too lack bravery and will be glad to know you are not alone.

Share something about your hopes and dreams for your life with three other people this week. Ask them to share theirs with you. This seems as though it would be simple, but it isn’t. It requires trust and faith and hope and courage and the belief that your dreams will be handled gently. If this doesn’t seem possible, what can you do to create such friendspaces?

Even the wildest dreams have to start somewhere. Allow yourself the time and space to let your mind wander and your imagination fly.
• Oprah Winfrey


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